Behind the Design: Airo Rockets™

Idea: Let’s make a hand-launched rocket

Goals are Set: Create a whole new rocket that combines action water sports, kites, and camping for a long-lasting, on-the-go, good time. It must have awesome performance, deliver big air flight, be fun to launch with excellent play value plus be super durable, packable, and have replaceable components for longevity. It would be a great addition to our human-powered active play family of items for kids.

Inspiration: Outdoor Sports

Sitting on the river's edge in Hood River Oregon, a mecca for windsurfing and kiteboarding, it is hard not to appreciate the large kiteboarding kites whipping through the air. Big bold colorful ripstop nylon with a tough polyurethane (PU) bladder inserted that defines the shape of the kite. Imagining a large colorful ripstop nylon rocket flying through the air using the same principles, the Airo Rockets were born.


Prototyping the Concept Begins

We busted out the sewing machine & sewed up some ripstop nylon into the best rocket shape possible by a novice sewer. With the mantra of, “Let’s just go for it and see if the thing flies”... it did and it was super high!!! We were stoked and pushed ahead.

The Inflatable Rocket, Launcher & Bag is Defined

A 20-inch rocket with a durable ripstop nylon outer shell & soft foam nose cone over inflatable polyurethane (PU) bladder. Easy to use inflate/deflate valve with integrated hook and launching strap. Ergonomic latex bungee launcher with wrist strap included and on-the-go drawstring storage bag with carabiner. We’ll call it the Airo Rocket. It will be the first of its kind.

Upgrading: The Valve

We wanted to be able to easily pack up the rocket in the on-the-go bag so it was always ready to use. We wanted to stay away from cumbersome setups. We needed a way to quickly inflate the new rocket in 1-2 seconds and deflate just as fast. We evaluated several different valve types and went with a quick valve commonly found in camping pillows and mattresses. Perfect. So simple and fast, just give a quick puff, and the rocket is filled with air and ready to fly.

Reviewing Prototypes from our Manufacturing Partner

The process started with a basic sewn rocket shell and 3d printed launcher samples which we test for durability, flight performance, safety, size and scale. Next, final graphics and colors were designed and applied to the rocket bodies and on-the-go bags.

Designed to Last: Replaceable Interior Components

It was a priority for us to make the Airo Rockets and Launchers to be used for more than one season so they were designed to have replaceable parts if needed. At the base of every rocket, is a side access pocket where the PU Bladder can be accessed and replaced. If the bungee cord of the launcher ages, it can be easily swapped out with a new one. 

The first Airo Rockets: The Super Fly Series

A strong graphic pattern and colorway define the very first Airo Rockets. We called them “Super Fly” because that’s how they look and what they do.

The Take-Away

All rockets are awesome! From our hand-launched Airo Rockets, to the foam rockets launched by a foot pump or the combustible rockets you build from a kit. What is it that makes all rockets awesome? It’s the excitement you feel during the launch and the awe you feel when they fly through the sky. Rockets are great to launch by yourself, with a friend or that special family member. So get outside and launch a rocket, we promise you’ll have a blast!

AIRO ROCKETS™ are patented!
US Pat. No. 10,807,012
Other Pat. Pending

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